Wednesday, April 25, 2007

You Know You Have Thrashers Withdrawal When...

  • You keep looking look up at your desk to check the Thrashers schedule out of habit... only to realize you took it down because the season is over... yet you keep looking there as if it was there...
  • You actually miss waiting in line for the doors to open...
  • You wish they made a Philips Arena beer/hotdog/cold ice car smell thingy to hang from your rear view mirror... you know, it's that awesome smell that hits your senses right as you walk into the arena... it's the best smell in the world.
  • Still visit the msg boards and Blueland Blog and the web site several times a day just to see if there are any updates and see what people are talking about... when you really should be doing your work... pretty soon they are just going to have to block the Thrashers website!
  • Still haven't hung up your jersey because you refuse to believe the season is really... really over.

Thrashers Thrashings: 2.0

I've decided to change the template a little bit... I've seen it in several other blogs and it looks sleeker and more modern. I think it does the Blueland theme and Thrashers blue colors more justice.

Thrashers Thrashings 2.0 - The 2006/07 season's not over yet, but I'm already ready for the 2007/08 season. Welcome to Thrashers Thrashings 2.0!

The Past, Present, & Future

Most blogs you see don't add too many pictures or make it much more than the default look and some text. Well, being a sports fan and, of course, a Thrashers fans since the beginning, I want to use the space on the right as sort of a time capsule and a shrine to the past, present, and future of the Thrashers. Some things you see you might have seen years ago. It's more of like a Thrashers museum, if you will. For nostalgia purposes. It will probably go through a bunch of changes, however, I want to have it ready to go well before the start of next season.

So if you happen to have any sort of old-school images, logos, moments, etc. etc from the past, I'd like to keep a Thrashers shrine here as well. Send them in if you like.

Yes, there was no 2005 All-Star game. But someday you may want to go back and remember that moment and logo. No, you can't register to ride the Zamboni, but it's just a little piece of hockey art, so to speak. Basically, if you can't click on it, then it's just there for looks. So don't ask me why doesn't it work, where can I sign up to ride the Zamboni.

Since there's no Thrashers hockey now, I gotta find something to do with this blog until next season!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Mellanby Hangs Up His Skates

The Thrashers have been privileged to have such a great leader and Captain. Mellanby's shoes...err... skates... will be very difficult, if not impossible, to fill. Scott provided amazing leadership on and off the ice - a true professional at every level.

This morning Scott was interviewed on AM 680 The Fan. He mentioned that it was going to be difficult to walk away, as hockey has been his life for over two decades now. He said that his son had asked him if he was playing tonight... and I'm sure that it hit him then when his son didn't understand that he was retiring. He did mention, of course, wanting to stay in hockey in some capacity... he didn't want to go into coaching right away but said that might be a possibility some day. He said he would be talking to DW and BH about the possibility of staying with the organization in some capacity - if that turns out to be true, that would be a priceless asset to the organization.

It's sad to see Mellanby go, and after 20 something years he never got to raise the Cup. Close, but no cigar. He has had one hell of an NHL career, he has truly lived the American Dream, and has a career that most of us could only dream about. He represented the Thrashers well during his time here and I hope that we retire his number. I'd like to see him as a commentator or analyst... he may not have a TV face, but that's the last thing any hockey fan cares about. Scott is a great player, a great man, and I wish him nothing but the very best in whatever he chooses to do.

Thanks Scott for being a great leader and for being an Atlanta Thrasher. Your leadership will be missed and impossible to replace. Best wishes to Scott, his family, and to the Thrashers... they'll need it to try to find someone to fill his skates... it won't be easy at all.

Friday, April 20, 2007

NHL Hockey = A Drug?

Is it just me... or am I the only one who is having horribly bad Thrashers withdrawal already?? I know it's only been a few days... but hockey and the Thrashers are like a drug... it's addicting, you gotta watch it and be there, and it's the one thing that is a huge part of your life. But now it feels like you just quit cold turkey. There's no more hockey to watch. Oh sure, you could go watch the Gladiators, and as much fun as it is, there's no comparing the ECHL to the NHL. A fan of any NHL team is an NHL snob and watching any form of lesser hockey helps, but doesn't cut the mustard. (Who the hell came up with that and what does that REALLY mean anyway?)

Think about it. Hockey is the fastest paced sport there is, making it great for people with ADD and who have next to no attention. Hockey is the best drug you can get. It's like it was designed for those kinds of people.

It's like... now that hockey is over, what the hell are you gonna do? Nights not spent at the games were spent either watching the Thrashers away games or watching some random game on .VS. There's always the Braves, and don't get me wrong, I love my Braves, but man, when you compare it to hockey, it's at a snail's pace. (And if we run into any more pitchers like the Braves did last night, we might be in trouble... but this series with the Mets is already a big series, even tough it's early in the year.)
Makes me wonder... will some of the same jackass Rangers "fans" also be at Shea Stadium making fun of the Braves and doing their version of the tomahawk chop? I think the ONLY reason they do that is because they are jealous. Think about it. They wish they had something like that... something unique only to the Braves. I sure as hell don't know any Mets-only cheer. So they might SAY it's making fun of us, the South... whatever... but it's simply is only one thing: Jealousy.

See this just proves I have no attention span: I go from talking about hockey withdrawal to bitching about the Mets and their fans and the tomahawk chop. Man I really need hockey back quick!

Hey, it's better than... say... crack or cocaine! And a hell of a lot cheaper.

It's Been a Great Ride.

Well, it came to a close all too quickly. Despite the fact that game 3 was a disaster for the Thrashers, and even though it seems we were mostly outplayed, 3 out of the 4 games were incredibly close score wise. And to say the least the Rangers also got incredibly lucky – twice. The fluke goal on Moose in game 2 and the one in game 4 that hit the crossbar and just so happened to bounce off of it within a hair behind the goal line. Those stung and they still sting this morning.

But let me tell you something. I’m damn proud of this team and what they accomplished. Some argue that the Thrashers are no longer a young organization. Well, compared to some NHL teams that have been around for decades and decades, 7 years is still, relatively speaking, a young organization. We might not be considered an expansion team any more, but it can take years and years for newer teams to make it in the right direction. And this season has been a step in that direction. If you had told me at the beginning of the season that we’d be Division Champs and in the playoffs for the first time, I think anyone would have taken that in a heartbeat. It’s better than we’ve ever done before and really brought the sport to life here in Atlanta.

Last week I couldn’t get any work done because my fellow co-workers kept stopping by to ask me about and talk about the Thrashers. There were the first Thrashers playoff bootleg tshirts being sold outside Philips. We actually got some prominent coverage in the AJC. Heck, even driving through downtown I saw bums with Blueland shirts and flags. It was the talk of the town and the thing to do in Atlanta.

That first playoff game on Thursday night… that was awe inspiring. Not a seat left in the house. I’ve never been in a place that loud before. Our fans, despite being NHL playoff virgins, were there in force. We were loud. The arena was beautiful. It was an amazing sight and sound that for anyone that was there will never forget. It was something special. Saturday was great too, but didn’t quite have the same magic as Game 1. But man, we’ve been waiting for that moment for over 7 years, and it finally came. Even the media took notice. I bet you they though we’d pull a Braves postseason-like attendance. I bet you they though we wouldn’t be that loud. I bet you they thought we wouldn’t bring it. Well, we brought it to say the least.

This has been the most memorable season as well. My girlfriend and I, yes, we were the very first ones in line for Opening Night. We got there incredibly early, a few hours before anyone else. Yeah, we love our Thrashers that much. As I was sitting there reading, Coach Hartley comes up behind me and goes “So, are you reading about how we are going to win tonight?” I was startled but I came to attention and replied with something along the lines of “Hell yeah!” After he came back from getting Starbucks or whatever it was, he took a picture with me. Despite his questionable moves at times, he seems like a really nice guy. Don Waddell also walked by that day, along with several players. That day, we were also on 11 Alive news in a Home Opener feature. The calls didn’t end for a few days.

We went to quite a few practices. Sam got to meet and get a picture with her idol Kari. She, to this day, is still stunned she got to meet him. There was that autograph session earlier in the season where about MAYBE 20-30 people showed up at Philips; I think it was a Monday night. Since it was such a small crowd, people stood around and chatted it up with the players there.

The STH Town Hall Meetings were always fun you always wanted to hear whatever Waddell had to say. Plus the great food and drinks, well, that’s awesome too. The last Town Hall Meeting of the season was packed with more people than I’ve ever seen. Those are always a great experience.

We also got on the Kiss Kam earlier in the season. It was something, as a guy, that I’ve always wanted to experience. Well, finally the moment came. And we never looked go. I think we were both a bit nervous but, still, we kept going until the camera changed. Sam was quite embarrassed, but we she didn’t stop getting phone calls about it for a month.

The Stanley Cup also came to Atlanta. It had been hear before, it was here during a Hawks game I believe a long time ago, but I never got a chance to see it. I knew it was coming to the Buck & Kincaid 680 The Fan broadcast inside CNN Center, so I setup there about an hour before it’s arrival, and got as close as I could. Not too many people knew about it’s visit there. I was able to get up really close and get a good 50-60 pictures of it. It really is something to see. And as soon as it came out, all the sudden it was like a flock of hornets… the cameras and cell phone cameras broke out like a bad case of the herpes. People came in from out of nowhere. Interested CNN Center patrons also took notice that had no idea it was going to be there. But I was lucky enough to get up close and get some great photos. No, I didn’t touch it. But seeing it in person was awesome.

And then, after it’s stop at 680, it went into the Arena. Now, the line for that was a mess, they were totally unprepared for the massive line it created. Anyway, I wanted to see it again, and this time with the offifical NHL table cloth that it normally sits on. As I was waiting, I was interviewed by Sam Crenshaw of 11 Alive Sports… and yet again, I ended up on 11 Alive.

We also met a lot of really nice people as well that we saw nearly every game. From Lisa our Thrashers “mom” to Chief, everyone has been incredibly nice and fun to be around.

There are plenty of other great memories too. The fan rally at Jillians. The Rangers players trying to enter Philips the wrong way. The practices. The close games. Seeing Sabres fans walk out of Philips quiet after we beat them 4-3. I’m probably missing a bunch of great things that happened over the course of the season. That last game vs. Tampa is something I’ll never forget. Oh yeah, of course, I can’t forget – Blog Night.

Blog Night was awesome. Getting the full tour of Philips Arena. Sitting in the press box and meeting a lot of the press crew. Seeing the game from that angle. Blogging live during the game… not to mention free entry into the game… getting to meet Ben (the Web Guy) and meeting all of the other bloggers. I hope they do that again next season!

What else, what else? I’m sure I’m missing a few things. But all around, this season was, by far, the most memorable for me, at least personally. I fell in love with this team since they’ve been here, but none more so than this season. It was a special team, the likes of which we may never see again. I just hope next season we make it again and take that next step… not just winning a game in the playoffs, but maybe making it to the next round. That would be incredible.

I’m sad, I’m depressed, disappointed… I can’t find the right words to say how I feel about losing the way we did in the playoffs. I don’t think anyone saw that coming. It stung, it still stings, and will sting for a probably a few more days. But here in Atlanta, we’ve been let down before, many, many times in postseason sports… hell, the Braves have been doing that to us since 1991… so it doesn’t get any easier for the years, you just learn to handle that stomach-twisting, gut wrenching, depressing feeling better.

At least we got to experience the playoffs and got to experience what it feels like to lose in the playoffs. Perhaps that’s just what it takes to make it further next season. But right now that seems so very, far, far away. At least we had the experience to feel this way… if it wasn’t for making the playoffs, you wouldn’t have had the experience of that feeling… and when you love your team THAT much, it makes it that much harder.

One of the best things about the Thrashers compared to the other teams in Atlanta, are by far, the most accessible and fan friendly you can ask for. They’ll stop and sign your hockey gear. They’ll take pictures with you. The team and the organization make you feel closer to the team and the players than any other team does. We should be so lucky, teams up north would have crowds and lines going out the door for miles. In Atlanta, it’s not so bad. Even the most busy practices aren’t so full you can’t move. You really do feel like you are a part of something bigger.

Of course it wouldn’t be fair to only blog about the good things during the season. The team was incredibly streaky and that surely doesn’t help you in the post season. 5 wins, 4 losses… that’s just weird. They need to be more consistent next season.

What else. STH weren’t treated as well as in past season. No money to spend in the team gear store. Increased prices. Few, if any, perks outside of hockey. Heck, the tickets came in a UPS bag unlike the previous season when they came in a sweet looking package.

What else. The thing that pissed me off the most was the stunt they pulled in Game 2 at Headlines Grill. Now if you have tickets in 300 or 400, and you get to the arena early, you know the secret – go to Headlines Grill. It might be a race to get a good seat there, but if you get one, it’s worth the run. Now, for game 1 of the playoffs, there was a cooperate party before the game started. While we were standing there waiting, we did get to meet Don Waddell and Billy Knight, who were hanging around the bottom of the stairs that lead up to Headlines Grill. Anyway, we were able to run up the stairs and grab some great seats. Now our plan was the same for game 2.

We got there and there was a sign that said that the bar stool seats were “researved” for “ticketed guests.” Two things. First, the sign was misspelled, so technically, you can say that you do no understand what it means. A sign must be obvious and clear, and this sign was FAR from that. Under the misspelled “researved”, it said “reserved for ticketed guests.” I’m sorry but this bullshit is incredibly vague and has no meaning to me. I am ticketed. I am a guest. I should be able to sit there. We’ve been sitting there all season. And now you try to milk every single little, last dime? We were TOLD BY SEASON TICKET HOLDER REP that these seats, during the entire playoffs, would be first come, first serve as always. Now, we get there. The guy tells us they are selling the seats, however, at 2:30, for those seats not sold, they will release them. Some time after that, we were told that the seats would NOT be for sale and that they were going to try to sell all the tickets. We still stood there and waited in hopes of something changing. Then, he came BACK to tell us that yes, again, they are going to open up at 2:30. And then, of course, again, we were told the seats would not be opened up and they were selling all of them. It was the misinformation that pissed me off more than anything. People that get there early and wait for those spots should get them, not some guy in a suit or some guy with more money than he knows what to do with get them… those kind of people aren’t the real fans by any means. Some idiots paid 60-75 dollars EXTRA, per seat to sit there. And what really, really pisses me of is that even during the game there were STILL quite a few of those seats – EMPTY. It was a stunt that I can’t believe was pulled. It was unethical, it was immoral, and NOT a good way to screw over your fans like that. I understand that it’s their arena and they can do what they want. But that doesn’t mean it’s right. It makes me think all they want and care about is to milk everyone for every little dime they spend. As if spending money on tickets and food isn’t enough, you gotta charge for the seats just because it’s playoffs? Fuck that. Even the waitresses, who went out of there way to get to know us during the season, said it sucked because the big buck mother fuckers who pay that much for a seat don’t buy the same food like we do. She said she thought it sucked and she didn’t like it either. In fact, quite a FEW arena employees around Headlines Grill voiced their displeasure.

I really, really hope they don’t pull that stunt EVER, EVER again. If they start doing that next season, then the shit will hit the fan. If you don’t do it all season, and not for game 1, what makes you think you should be able to do that to fans who know and depend on that being there? Seriously. It was wrong, they know it, and everyone that came up there to get a seat was JUST as pissed and ticked off as I was.

Because of the situation, we all had to sit in our separate seats. Second, it’s the playoffs – it was a bad, bad omen to the start of the game. The LAST thing an organization should do is create ANY possible negative things going on… and blocking your fans from seats at Headlines Grill is not a good thing. It was a bad omen, a bad, bad start to the game, and then we get beat. Of course it has nothing to do with the on ice performance, but any little sign of negativity before the playoffs just is not a good idea in any shape or form.

The only other thing is that the doors have GOT to open on time. Not 3 minutes after the hour, not 5 minutes, but right on the button. No excuses. I worked for the Braves and if we were not in place at least 20 minutes or so before and ready to go, then we got in huge trouble. The ticket scanners should be ready to go and the doors should be ready to open at the strike of the hour. Fans get restless and angry when they’ve been waiting there for a long time and can’t get in when they should. It can take a while to get in line for the spin-n-win game, go to the store, get some food, and get a seat. That is why the doors MUST open ON TIME.

Grill disaster, I have no other complaints. The arena has a great smell and feel to it when you walk in the door. The food and service has always been great. The ushers and employees have been great and you have to give them credit for what they do. It’s not easy working with the public with 1000’s of people. I thought it was tough working for the Braves when Mets fans came to town, but man, I don’t even want to imagine what it’s like with crazy hockey fans.

But it’s now time to close this out. I’m not sure if there’ll be another post for a while unless there is any major Thrashers-related news to discuss. Next season can’t come soon enough. I’m already have really, really bad Thrashers and hockey withdrawal. It became such a big part of my life. I only missed ONE game the entire season for the Georgia vs. Georgia Tech football game, which I have never missed and never will. But missing only ONE game during the entire season isn’t too bad I’d say. So, to close out, I just wanted to say thanks to the Thrashers, the organization, the employees at Philips and all of the great fans for making this the most memorable season yet. I hope next season is ever better. I can’t wait and I’m counting down the days until we reveal the Division Champs banner and we get the season under way.

So for now, goodbye. I hope that if you’ve read this blog (yeah right, someone reads my blog?) that you continue to do so next season. I might not has as much technical information in regards to stats or that truly hard core hockey talk, but you know what, I love this team with all my heart and that is all that matters.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Thrashers First Playoff Game Experience

Ok, so we lost game 1. In all honesty, the Rangers seemed like they just wanted it more for a while. But the Thrashers came storming back in the 3rd to make it close… and then the 6 on 4 at the very end… I was SO sure we were going to tie it up in the end… but no, the Rangers survived.

So now tomorrow afternoon is not death, but it is pretty much a must win now. You don’t want to go into NY… into hostile territory… down 0-2 … on the Rangers home ice. That would be devastating. Not un-recoverable, but unlikely.

But let me tell you something. Last night was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in this town. A completely sold out, standing-room only Philips Arena. Giant Blueland flags hanging from every suite. Everyone waving their Blueland scarves. Blue between the glass. Blue rope lightning around the glass during intermission. Fans that never gave up. It was so loud you could have gone deaf. Everyone was impressed, including the media. I was impressed. I shed a tear of joy. It was a moment we’ve been waiting for 7 years since 1999. It was impressive. Amazing. And I bet that Saturday will be even better.

Saturday – People won’t be working, people will be down there very early, and people will be excited, pumped, ready to rock Blueland and the Rangers down to the ground.

Last night, we were waiting for Headlines Grill to open up to the public at 7… it was a stampede up the stairs, but we managed to get great seats.

Now, I have to give props to my brother. He drove all the way from Athens, somehow didn’t get a speeding ticket, parked, took MARTA, somehow caught a train as soon as he got there, waited less than 2 minutes for a westbound train, and somehow managed to make it 10 minutes before 7. How in the world he made it that fast and before the game started was beyond me. But the ticket was his 22nd birthday present and he wouldn’t have missed it for the world either. Now, he did get lucky because he was let out of class earlier that normal because they had a sub… so man, did he luck out or what?

My girlfriend’s friend even made it on time… so we all got to sit together, so it was great to be surrounded by friends and family for the first ever Thrashers playoff game.

While we were waiting, Thrashers GM Don Waddell and Hawks GM Billy Knight were there, talking, and meeting and greeting a bunch of suits… they had some sort of party for those corporate suit types who had probably not been to a Thrashers game all season… probably never before. But we did get to meet them both at the same time, which was cool. It’s not too often you get to meet two of the most powerful men in this city.

Of course there were plenty of celebrities at the game… several Hawks players were there, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin was there… they both got booed… why I don’t know, but who cares…Evander Holyfield was there… but the rest was a blur. Oh but our biggest “supporter”, Lil Jon, who claims to be this huge Thrashers and hockey fan, didn’t even bother to make the trip for his team’s first ever playoff appearance. I know he’s out west making records, but still, if he was truly a devout fan as he claims, he has enough money and would’ve shown up. He hasn’t been to a game since… what… the very beginning of the season… he was there more often last season…

Anyway, my heart was racing at the end of the game, it was so exciting and tense and emotional… but it was not to be. My heart is STILL racing from that moment last night.

Anyway, I know, I know… but somehow my brother managed to win the College Night giveaway at a Hawks game earlier this year and he got a 15” inch flat Philips TV and a Philips portable DVD player… he picked them up today and also got some free tickets for tonight’s game… so my girlfriend and I are going to go… just so we can look at the Thrashers gear w/o the insane crowds tomorrow… and hit up spin and win, maybe stay for a few minutes for the game, and then it’s on to Kobe Steaks to celebrate our 2 year anniversary.

Last night as we were waiting in line, 2 Rangers players attempted to enter Philips Arena in the doors all the way to the right… you’ve probably seen them before… people who don’t know and try to enter the arena always try to pull the doors open there… so we gave them a little southern hospitality and directed them to the correct entrance… we tried to tell them they were at the wrong place and to walk down Peachtree Street to the Georgia Dome… oh well, they didn’t bite.

We did get to wish Mellanby and Boulton good luck as they walked into the arena from CNN Center.

I also ran into at least one Rangers fan with a Yankees hat on, and well, it’s my mission in life to let the world know just what I think of the Yankees… so I let ‘em have it.

Anyway, I’m leaving madd early tomorrow to be at CNN Center early as can be. If it were up to me, I’d bring a sleeping back and a pillow and sleep inside CNN Center, but I don’t need to land in jail.

Anyway, that’s it for now…. LETS KICK SOME NEW YORK RANGER ASS!!!!!!!


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

AM 680 The Fan - Fan Rally / Playoff Anxiety

So, it was our 2nd year anniversary. We’ve been dating two years now… and, so we simply could not have found anything better to do, seeing as how it was a week night, then go to the Thrashers Fan Rally at Jillians. I wasn’t even sure what Jillians was; I don’t spend any time up that way except for going to Thrashers practices and Gladiators games… but it’s just like Dave N. Busters. Anyway, we walked in, and 680 The Fan had their prize wheel; I ended up with a 680 The Fan t-shirt.

Anyway, we sat down at the bar and got some drinks and ordered the doughnut holes; we had already eaten earlier. Damn they were good. We had already put our name in the box for the giveaways.

Don Waddell was first on the air followed by Coach Bob Hartley and lastly was Scott Mellanby’s father. He had some very interesting comments about hockey in HD and having all of the camera angels standardized in ever arena. He also spoke about shootout vs. overtime in the playoffs. He had a very interesting perspective. He mentioned that about 1 in 36,000 kids get to ever have a chance to play pro hockey.

It was fun; there was a good sized group of fans there. We didn’t win anything, but some folks though it was ok to enter their name numerous times in the box… well some girl won something and then won again, but she was at least honest about it and didn’t take the second item. But I’m guessing some folks probably upped their odds by entering more than once. There SHOULD have been a rule saying one entry per person only. Some dude won, I think it was the Kovy jersey, and didn’t have a SINGLE item of clothing on with the Thrashers on it. What kind of “fan” is that? I mean, you are going to a FAN RALLY, not a wear-your-work-clothes rally. Who knows if the guy was even really a fan? I’m not upset I didn’t win anything, but I am thinking that there were some who tried to take advantage of the situation by entering multiple times.

Nonetheless, it was a great experience, and they’ve already got plans for another one when we get past the Rangers (notice I didn’t say “if”!)

So tomorrow I’m wearing my jersey all day; I’m representin’ Blueland and the Thrashers all day long… I can’t WAIT to get there; I get out of class around 3:45ish and then, as I always do around that time, I go over to CNN Center and chill. But seeing as how the doors will now open at 5:30 instead of six, it’s perfect. I got my brother a ticket for his birthday, he is coming ALL the way down from Athens in that wonderful rush hour traffic to go to the first ever Thrashers playoff game.

I’m nervous, I’m excited, and I’m anxious. Part of me wants the excitement of it going to 7 games, but most of me would like to see a 4 game sweep of the Rangers… I know that is highly unlikely, but it would be the most comforting.

Hopefully we’ll be able to ride the splendor from that last game against Tampa. We can ride that momentum all the way to the Stanley Cup!

So yes it’s true that Atlanta Spirit was out at Colony Square yesterday… too bad I don’t work on Tuesdays… but someone or a few people left me two Blueland shirts and Thrashers logo magnet. Like I don’t already have enough Blueland shirts!! LOL. They are always good to have around.

So the next post I make here will be after the first playoff game. If we win, then more than likely you’ll see a post that night, along with plenty of photos. If we lose, I probably won’t be in any mood to write that night, so it’ll be later on.

I’m anxious. I’m ready. I simply can not wait.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Are You Ready?

My girlfriend and I are heading up to the 680 The Fan fan rally shortly.

But I've been thinking... unless you are an older fan and were in Atlanta and experienced the Flames playoff experience, then you may know. But even for those that have lived in Atlanta since then and remember it, it goes without saying it's been a very long time and remembering what it's like it something too far in the past.

But Thursday is a special time. Win or lose, it's the first playoff game in this team's history. If you thought Saturday night's last game was intense, it will be nothing compared to Thursday and Saturday night.

Are you prepared? Can you really prepare for the playoffs? Most of us have never experienced it. Will it feel like a game 7 of a World Series? With a 1-1 game, bottom of the 9th and runner on 2nd and two outs and you're up to bat with a chance to win it all?

Most of the media has picked the Rangers to win it and even go far. But I could really care less what they say.

It's a moment in history, years from now, you'll never forget. One day, god willing, you'll bring your kid(s) to their first-ever hockey game and you'll be able to share the story - I was here for the first ever Thrashers playoff game.

I just hope our fans don't pull a Braves-like post-season attendance. If we can nearly sell out a game in the middle of the week on a Wednesday, the house had better be ready to rock come Thursday night. It's only Tuesday yet it feels like a year away. It can't come soon enough.

I just can't wait.

I hope the Thrashers play like every game is a game 7. I hope no one gets hurt. I hope we go far. I hop we win it all.

But no matter what happens in the playoffs, this is a year we'll never forget with all the great players we have right now. One day we may look back and consider this a glory year. Or the yea that put this team on the map. The year. This is our year.

I'm ready... at least I think I am.... so, are you?

Monday, April 09, 2007

Thrashers End Season with Dramatic 3-2 SO Victory over the Lightning!

As you know, the Thrashers are the Southeast Division Champs. This has been, obviously, the Thrashers best season in it’s history after narrowly missing a playoff opportunity last season.On Friday, when the Thrashers faced the Canes, I, nor did anyone, expect a Division Championship to come so easily… or that night. The emotionally-out-of-it Canes didn’t play with much heart or drive, and the Thrashers won easily 4-1. No surprise there. The surprise of the night, however, was the fact that not only was Center Ice doing another free preview and the game was on TV, but the fact that about every time I flipped back to the Lightning vs. Panthers game, the Panthers seemed to score another goal. Most assumed the Lightning would easily beat the Panthers, but most people were sadly mistaken. It was 1-0 Panthers, shortly after 2-0 Panthers… before long it was 4-0, 5-0… pretty soon there was a feeling that this was, in fact, the Thrashers night to clinch the Division. Not anything I expected to happen. Not even close. But soon enough it was 7-0 Panthers in the 3rd period. There was no way Tampa could even attempt to come back from a huge deficit like that. Tampa did manage to squeeze in 2 goals in the 3rd, but it was way too little, way too late, and by then, the Thrashers heard the news, they were your 2006-07 Southeast Division Champs!! So not only did we get into the playoffs, no matter what happens, we have a new banner to hang on Opening Night next season!!

It’s almost too bad the Division Championship decision didn’t come down to Saturday night’s last regular season game vs. Tampa. Of all the games this season, this one, was, by far, the most dramatic of the season, even though a Division was not on the line. Could you even come close to imagining what it would have been like Saturday night if the Division HAD been on the line? But what a game. I can’t describe it in words. I can’t get over seeing Kovy in the SO…and Kovy SCORING in the SO for the first time! If he had not had made that shot, everyone would have been up in arms questioning BH… but low and behold, Kovy made that shot. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. As my girlfriend said, the Thrashers reduced the Lightning to nothing more than mere static electricity on Saturday night. We sent them to face the Devils and Martin Brodeur. Good luck with THAT, Tampa!!

By the way, yes, I did happen to bring my Lucky Puck with me, holding it during the entire game... and yet again, it proved to be lucky. So you better bet that I'll have it with me during every playoff game!!

They seemed like two evenly matched teams. The Thrashers went down 2-0 but never gave up the fight. When Kovy came through with the first goal, you could just sense it. By far the best regular season game this season. The longest shootout of the season. Could you imagine if the Division championship was on the line in a SO? How tense would that have been?

As tense as it would have been, it would’ve been NOTHING compared to what you are going to feel Thursday night in the first ever Thrashers playoff game. This is going to be a whole new level that Thrashers fans have never experienced before. It’s going to grab a hold of your emotions and never let them go.

The only complaint I have of the Fan Appreciation Day… well there are a few. First of all, I was told by one person that the “jerseys off our backs” promotion was given out to random seats, it could be anyone in the arena. I was told by someone else that it was randomly chosen season ticket holders and they were notified days before that they would be given a jersey, and they just make it seem like it is random during the game. I don’t know what to believe. All I know is that I’ve never wanted to be down there more than I wanted to Saturday night. I know it’s a highly unlikely chance of getting to go down there, but I could SEE myself down there. I thought about it and thought about it and how much it would have meant to have been given the opportunity to have that experience. But it’s yet another season, yet another disappointment. But that’s ok. As much as I wanted and wished to have been down there, all that really matters was that we won, and won we did. But then there’s the 7th Man Contest. But it was no contest at all. I don’t personally know the lady who won it but the Thrashers have made it a PR media story all season long about the lady because she needed, I believe, a kidney transplant. While the story is great, and while I know she is a huge fan, I also know that the point of the contest was to give the person who wrote the best essay the 7th Man award… but she was obviously chosen, it was setup beforehand, it was totally rigged… meaning everyone and anyone who spent the time and used their creativity to come up with an essay never even had a chance; it was going to be her no matter what. It’s a great PR move for the Thrashers, don’t get me wrong, but that was not the point of the contest. There might as well have been no contest because it wasn’t a contest. I’m sure she still wrote an essay, or at least I’d like to think so, but I think she was chosen well before hand. While the story is great and heart warming, it was unfair to every single other Thrashers fan out there. I’m not upset that I didn’t win, although, of course, I was hoping one day I’d get that call… but I would have liked to have seen it to the fan that really wrote the best essay. Also, it has been a tradition at the last regular season home game to give out a team poster… which was not the case this year. I can just hope they are waiting to give them out during the playoffs this week.

Anyway, there’s always next season as they say. But now is the next step – the New York Rangers. The media, because they are based mostly in NYC, are, of course, going to pick the Rangers. The media is going to give it all to the Rangers, but don’t let it get to you. Take it with a grain of salt. In fact, take it with a giant sized CostCo bucket of salt. Let the boys on the ice determine who is going to win the series, not the media. Let it go in one ear and out the other and just worry about how the Thrashers do, not what the media says. But I wanted to share my thanks to the Thrashers for a great season. I wrote this on the message boards but I think it’s worth sharing with you here as well.

This has, obviously, been our best season as a franchise so far. Of course I want us to win and go all the way... but I just wanted to say thanks for everything, this season has been an amazing run and there are a lot of great memories... no matter what happens in the playoffs, I'm proud of my Thrashers, I'm proud of what we accomplished this year, I'm proud that we are the hottest thing to do in Atlanta, I'm proud that we won the Division, and I think we all owe our beloved Thrashers a big thank you for what they have done so far. You've made an entire city believe in Blueland, you've made a city fall in love with hockey and the Thrashers, and you've made a city that once could only depend on one team to win now have another winning team. What you have accomplished so far this season is priceless in terms of the history of this team and for the city of Atlanta. I appreciate all that you have done for us as fans, I appreciate feeling at home in Blueland, I appreciate you having great customer service, I appreciate you having great fan giveaways, I appreciate the open practices and being able to feel like you are a huge part of something, I appreciate all of the hard fought victories and the heart-breaking losses. I appreciate the hustle and the heart of our team and coaches. I appreciate what the ownership has given us the chance to do this year. I wish the Thrashers the greatest success in the playoffs; I hope we are in it until the end. But no matter what happens the rest of the way, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for giving this city something to believe in. I appreciate the dedication of the fans, especially to the core group who are there on nightly basis. I appreciate the fact that the Thrashers have shown the world that hockey belongs in the South, in Georgia, in Atlanta. It belongs here and hopefully will always remain here. I just wanted to share my hockey love for the Thrashers and wanted to say thanks for a great regular season.Congratulations to the Thrashers, their fans, the city of Atlanta, and best wishes in the playoffs!!

LETS GO THRASHERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, April 06, 2007